A 29-year-old business owner who allegedly received R150 million in Covid-19 relief funds appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Monday on charges of corruption.
Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Sipho Ngwema said the businessman, Thabo Abel Simbini from Stinkwater in Hammanskraal, near Pretoria, appeared in court for allegedly bribing an Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) official.
“This follows Simbini’s arrest by members of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation [DPCI], popularly known as the Hawks, during an undercover operation, authorised by the office of the director of public prosecutions in Pretoria, when Simbini was caught red-handed after paying a bribe to an official from the Department of Employment and Labour.
“Impossible Solutions, a company owned by Simbini, is alleged to have made fraudulent claims from the UIF Covid-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme [C19 TERS] on behalf of people that were not in their employ. It is believed that the company has already received R150 million,” Ngwema said.
The Hawks’ investigation into Simbini’s claims continue, Ngwema added.
“Hawks and the NPA are part of the Fusion Centre which comprises all law enforcement agencies. The Fusion Centre is a platform for law-enforcement collaboration to prevent, detect early, intelligence-led investigations, prosecute and recover assets relating to corruption or related activities in respect of Covid-19 relief to counter the detrimental economic and social impact of the pandemic.
“Simbini was not asked to plead and his matter was postponed to 18 November for the prosecutor to register a fraud docket and for further investigation. The accused was remanded in custody. The state is likely to oppose bail.”
Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu